Writing Big Year: Once more recalibrate

This Big Year has floundered before and flounders yet again. It’s no great success, that’s for sure. But I’m moving on the book and faster than ever, and still aimed to hammer out a draft (20 chapters) over this Big Year and the 2017 Writing Big Year. We’re not travelling overseas next year and that will help immeasurably. Targets: 5 chapters by the end of this year; Volume 1 (Chapter 8) by March; Volume 2 (Chapter 12) by the middle of 2017; and the end, Volume 3, by December 31, 2017. Wish me luck!

Writer’s Big Year: Off the rails

I’m “working well,” “putting in the hours,” “making progress” . . . but in truth I’ve “lost my way” on the focus to “write the damned thing.” Research for future chapters, all too necessary, has swamped drafting, this writer’s core task. All those clichés in quotation marks hide the fact that this Big Year, wonderful as it has been in spurring book momentum, is no Hollywood “fairytale success story.”

So . . . I renew this Big Year, right here, right now. Clearly I need to institute a new plan for this year (and next year), but first, let me write.

Writer’s Big Year: Satire?

I missed this season of 10 Gladwell podcasts, Revisionist History. Number 10, The Satire Paradox, fascinates from a writer’s perspective. Essentially he observes that the best, most savage satires appeal to both the target audience (who appreciate the sharp, righteous irony) and the attacked “enemy” (who see what they want to see). A case of “motivated cognition,” an academic interviewee finds. Colbert attacks Palin and it’s wonderful and it works, but Palin supporters love it also! No viewpoints are altered. Memo to self: satire is a dangerous genre. Go serious. Always. (Maybe?)

Writing Big Year: Why can’t data stop coming in?

South Africa cheated, pretending to embrace the peaceful atom while building nuclear bombs. It recanted and binned its bombs. The South African tale belongs to my book and I’ve researched it to death, in fact I need do no more. At least that’s what I thought until I spied a brand new book, “Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program.” David Albright is one of the world’s experts on proliferation, so after sighing and whispering “damn,” I chucked the new data onto the Kindle.

Writing Big Year: Oh, exuberance, save me!

The brain wave was to insert into a pivotal historical moment, handed down by a US president, the likely whereabouts and reactions of nine reactor pioneers across the globe. Well, it reads like magic. Hence the emotion in the photo.

But the flip side is that this required quite some detective work (delays, delays) and it chews up a couple of pages. In the end does it work? I’ll have to wait to read the entire Chapter 5.

Writing Big Year: Forward?

As a geek, I read way too much. I read way too much about writing. Often there seems no point to much of that reading about writing, really, but I do it for some reason that compels. Nearly all of it washes over me – blah blah blah, same old, same old – but when something strikes me, it hits hard.

In “Fierce on The Page: Become the Writer You Were Meant to Be and Succeed on Your Own Terms,” Sage Cohen asks: “Who can you count on for feedback that helps move your work ahead?”

My answer is more important than it first seems: I can count on the Inner City Writers Workshop, a group of disparate writers whose only commonalities are dreams of fame and fortune; at least a modicum of talent (all eight of us are about equal, possessing quite some skills and rough edges); a work ethic within the chaos of life; humor; quick minds. We meet fortnightly. We read and critique. We support, we suggest, we yearn for each other.

Writing those words unearths the real significance of ICWW: no one else in my life always “moves my work forward.” Let me ensure I dig in for the crew.